FRIEND, Neb. (AP) - A southeast Nebraska city council has upheld the firings of two employees accused of wasting money by paying too much for supplies.

The Friend City Council voted 4-0 Wednesday to back Mayor Judith Knoke's decision to dismiss the city utility superintendent, Patrick Gates, and city clerk, Debbie Gilmer.

A state auditor's report says Friend had been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more for items that routinely were sold for far less to other Nebraska communities. The city attorney says $1.4 million was wasted

Gilmer didn't attend the meeting but Gates read a statement for her. Gates said that he had made the mistake of trusting the vendor. And Gates denied any suggestion that he'd received kickbacks.

In other news

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man accused of interfering with a flight attendant on a plane diverted to Omaha has been acquitted.Timothy Columbare, of Mansfield, Massachusetts, was found not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha.Authorities have said Columbare got into a confrontation with…

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — A city attorney in southeast Nebraska's Gage County has been suspended.The city administrator in Beatrice is Tobias Tempelmeyer, and he says Abigail Stark is still being paid by the city.He won't say publicly what led to the action Monday or how long the suspension migh…

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Police say a man reported missing in February in Omaha was a homicide victim.Police in Council Bluffs, Iowa, took a missing person report on 37-year-old Joseph Hellman, on Feb. 21. He was last seen in Omaha and the report was referred to Omaha police.Omaha police said inve…

FAIRBURY, Neb. (AP) —Authorities say a man armed with an ax and crowbar was arrested after making threats at a city office in southeast Nebraska.The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that a city of Fairbury employee reported Tuesday that the man had walked into the city office…

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — A Wisconsin-based company has decided to not reopen its flood-damaged plant in eastern Nebraska.Jack Link's spokesman Abbey Miller says the Missouri River flooding in March overwhelmed the company's Bellevue plant. The plant sits just east of Offutt Air Force Base, whic…

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The school board has scheduled a special election Feb. 11 so voters can decide whether to issue $290 million in bonds to build two more high schools, an elementary and other facilities.The board voted unanimously Tuesday for the bond resolution and authorized district of…